East India Company Chai Masala Spices: Coconut Chai Ice Cream

Dairy-Free Coconut Chai Ice Cream Dairy-Free Coconut Chai Ice Cream
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Last week, I put up a post about Indian food and making bacon, something the fine folks at East India Company said was an “atypical” use of their spice blends. However, the “tandoori” bacon “beautifully demonstrat[ed] that ‘Indian’ spices [aren’t] just for Indian cuisine anymore.”


Given the heat wave that has been testing the collective patience of many in Southern Ontario, a number of voices in local food asked a familiar question, how do you cope? What do you cook when the city releases heat advisories day after day, especially if you’re not one of the lucky few that have air conditioning. With humidity, the thirty-something degrees Celsius temperature seems much warmer.

Chez nous, we usually prepare tacos. If you stick to braising meat overnight, when it is cooler, you are taco-ready come dinner time. Just pickup a bag of mixed greens and corn tortillas.

With the deadline for East India Company’s Spice Up Your Life Recipe Contest looming (July 27, 2013), Jenn made ice cream.

Dairy-Free Coconut Chai Ice Cream, served by robots…

[Some transparency: I promised to shoot and write up Jenn’s recipe for coconut chai ice cream, so long a she writes up the post on our visiting the Taste of Nova Scotia “eatery” food truck on Canada Day.]

With our friends discovering dietary sensitivities to dairy, eggs, and soy, a number have lamented they have to give up the smooth rich texture of ice cream.

Our editor’s solution? Use a rich coconut cream, but add a stabilizer to achieve the “from cream” consistency.

Local chef Jason Laurin of Essence Catering (430 Parkdale Ave) recommended corn starch (or rice starch) and upping the protein with silken tofu, essentially replacing eggs component for component. Rich ice creams tend to be frozen custards, mixtures of dairy and egg yolks.

Jenn went with agar agar, an age-old oriental thickener fashioned from seaweed. After some trial and error, we recommend adding enough powdered agar to make up 0.5% by mass. This ensures a thickness on the tongue when the ice cream melts and the batch of ice cream doesn’t quite freeze into a solid mass, which can then lead to asking a cook friend at a local restaurant for a couple minutes with an expensive pacojet. If you ever wondered how restaurants get that freshly churned consistency with their ice cream, they’ve likely a pacojet in the back.

[In all honesty, unless you’re freezing your ice cream with liquid nitrogen (which can be purchased online!), you will get both ice and hardening at home. Residential ice cream makers are not known for being able to produce great ice cream. So, either let the ice crystals melt by leaving ice cream out at room temperature for 20 minutes or so. Or, practice the “scrape the block of ice cream and stuff a scoop” tradition. There’s nothing wrong with the latter.]

Dairy-Free Coconut Chai Ice Cream

Everything into the Saucier (except the agar)

Everything into the Saucier (except the agar)

Gently Heating to Dissolve the Palm Sugar and Infuse Spices

Gently Heating to Dissolve the Palm Sugar and Infuse Spices

Gelled Ice Cream Mixture

Gelled Ice Cream Mixture

Blended until Smooth

Blended until Smooth

Taking It For A Spin

Taking It For A Spin

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of preferably unsweetened coconut water (water, otherwise…)
  • 1 14 oz can of coconut cream (try to look for cans that have no preservatives or additional stabilizers)
  • 25 g of palm sugar (one smallish puck)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (adjust to taste, but you need a couple tbsp at least!)
  • 2 tbsp East India Company Chai Masala blend
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 2 g agar powder (more as necessary)


  1. Place all the ingredients, except the agar, into a small metal bottomed pot and place the pot on a burner set to medium or medium-low heat.
  2. Heat the mixture until the sugar(s) dissolve, stirring with a metal whisk. This will take anywhere from 20 minutes to a half hour. Do not let the mixture come to a simmer.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the liquid.
  4. Weigh the liquid. No, this isn’t strange. We want to set the liquid at a concentration of approximately 0.5% agar. For instance, 2 g will set 400 g of liquid into a gel.
  5. Now, pour the liquid back into the pot and place it on a burner set to on medium heat.
  6. When it starts to come to a simmer, whisk in the required amount of agar.
  7. Bring the liquid back to a simmer.
  8. Place the liquid in a heat proof container and put it in the fridge for 45 minutes.


  1. Remove the now set liquid and place it into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Freeze the now thickened mixture in an ice cream machine as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Either serve immediately as soft serve (recommended!) or freeze to harden.

Imagine a sweet and Chai spiced frozen dessert that has a not quite rich ice cream consistency.

Fri…umm I mean Thursday Appendix: #GoodEatsBlogs

  1. This post have you thinking about sweet desserts? Consider the following summery ideas from local bloggers:
    From Candace Derickx of Life in Plesantville, another coconut cream application: lemon pina coladas!
  2. From Jo-Anna of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, real honest-to-goodness lemonade! Accept no substitutes folks (like 0% juice lemonade from Minute Maid)
  3. From Jen of Kitchen Counter Chronicles, strawberry ice cream cake! We made something very similar with mango ice cream for Father’s Day.

Mild-mannered IT professional by day and food blogger by night, I founded foodiePrints with a single intention, to share my love of all things food. My first post shared a recipe. Many followed. Eventually, I learned Ottawa prepares and serves great food. Thereafter, I started meeting restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, farmers, and other local producers, all good people. Ideas for food-related content swirled in my head. foodiePrints grew into a place to put them. From exploring foreign and domestic cuisines to shopping for exotic ingredients and cobbling together my takes on dishes in my meager kitchen, there are stories to tell. Welcome to foodiePrints. Here, you will find stories about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada’s capital. Be it food-related or just food-for-thought, I hope you find something tasty here.